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ECS K7VTA3 Rev.3.1 Socket-A motherboard
By CPU-zilla
Category : Mainboard
Published by Jimmy Tang on Friday, 19th July, 2002
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars  

What We Liked

We know that ECS is always focused to give the best in hardware pricing and this is always one of their strongest selling point. When it comes to delivering cost effective products, ECS would always deliver boards with the necessary on-board peripherals and they normally don't focus much on overclocking. However, the K7VTA3 still comes with a couple of on-board peripherals that would make this board more than a steal for budget conscious buyers.

Since the K7VTA3 Rev. 3.1 is based on the VT8233A south bridge, ECS added a discrete USB 2.0 controller to give this board USB 2.0 support. The VT6202 is a one-chip USB 2.0 controller that could support up to four USB 2.0 ports. On the board itself, you'll find two USB 2.0 ports located at the rear I/O panel. Another two USB 2.0 ports are provided on the board as a header for chassis with front USB ports. ECS also duplicated the header in another layout to facilitate system integrators who would probably need to use certain standard OEM-only headers.

The K7VTA3 uses VIA's VT6202 USB 2.0 four port controller.

Don't be confused by these headers as they share the same port. Note the difference of the pin layout - they are built for different connectors. You can only use one of them at a time.

The board also comes with a Promise PDC20265 ATA100 RAID controller. The FastTrak Lite controller will only let you perform RAID 0 or RAID 1 on up to four IDE hard disk drives. Since ATA133 is more or less quite well known today, ECS did not choose to use the newer PDC20276 controller as cost could be the main concern. Still, ATA133 drives are only available through Maxtor and it doesn't hurt to use only ATA100. Besides, ATA133 has not been proven to be excessively faster than ATA100.

The K7VTA3 features the Promise PDC20265 IDE RAID controller supporting IDE devices up to ATA100.

ECS also included a LAN controller which is based on the low-cost Realtek RTL8100B chipset. It's nothing too fancy except that the addition of a LAN controller would make the board more attractive to consumers. The RJ45 port is located in the rear I/O panel and it's placed just right above the two USB 2.0 ports.

The on-board LAN is based on the Realtek RTL8100B single-chip LAN controller.

The layout of the rear I/O panel.

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